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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 16: Last-Minute Lineup Changes That Will Win Your League

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 08:  Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals takes the field against the St Louis Rams during the first quarter of an NFL football game at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images
Alex KayCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2013

The 2013 fantasy football championships start on Sunday, and you simply cannot afford to make a single lineup mistake.

While it will be tough to sit some of the stars who brought you this far, it will be the right decision in certain situations and could just be the difference between winning the title and being a forgettable runner-up.

You don’t want to live with regret for an entire offseason, so keep reading to find out some of the best stars to start, the tough players to bench due to poor matchups and a closer look at the hardest calls of the week.

 

NFL Week 16 Starts and Sits
PositionStart 'EmSit 'Em
QBTony Romo (DAL)Andrew Luck (IND)
RBAlfred Morris (WAS)Steven Jackson (ATL)
WRAntonio Brown (PIT)Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
TEDennis Pitta (BAL)Brandon Myers (NYG)
KSteven Hauschka (SEA)Sebastian Janikowski (OAK)
DEFCleveland BrownsSt. Louis Rams

Toughest Calls

Sit: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 15:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball while tackled by D.J. Swearinger #36 and Brooks Reed #58 of the Houston Texans during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 15, 2013 in Indianapolis, Ind
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Luck has been wildly inconsistent in 2013 and runs into a tough matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16.

It’s an especially tough sit because the Colts signal-caller has been on fire as of late, throwing for six touchdown passes over the last two weeks after totaling just one scoring pass in the three games prior.

However, Luck has only surpassed the 232-yard mark on a single occasion in that five-week span and is seemingly out of sync with his receivers. It’s going to be extremely tough to lock in and get on the same page with a tough pass rush bearing down this Sunday.

NFL.com's Marc Sessler noted that Luck is fast approaching a milestone, but he may not be able to reach it against this stingy Kansas City defense:

The Chiefs have been dominating opposing quarterbacks recently, recording six interceptions and six sacks in the last two games. This is an opportunistic unit that will capitalize on every mistake that Indianapolis makes, which could cost Luck owners who weren't wise enough to stash him on the bench.

Don’t take the risk here with Luck. Go with a safer option—such as Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins—in the championship.

 

Sit: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Oct 17, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) during the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t going to be easy to sit Fitzgerald, who has been a WR1 for much of the 2013 season, in the championship.

Unfortunately it's the right call, because his matchup with the Seattle Seahawks on the road is downright brutal.

Fitzgerald wasn’t able to find any room against their stingy secondary, with coverage led by superstar cornerback Richard Sherman, and came away with just two receptions for 17 yards in a Week 7 loss in Glendale.

The veteran wideout’s string of ineptitude against this NFC West rival goes back to last season, when he was held to just one catch for two yards in a lopsided 58-0 blowout in Week 14. His last respectable performance came in Week 1 of 2012, when he caught four passes for 63 yards.

If four catches and 63 yards is a “good” performance against this team, it is certainly a matchup you will want to avoid. There are other wideouts going against softer defenses who are much more worthwhile of a start.

It would be best to avoid playing any worthwhile Cardinals fantasy players this week, as they just aren’t going to score many points.

 

Start: Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta celebrates in the locker room after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The tight end position has been anything but consistent in fantasy this year. When Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending knee injury, it took away one of the few reliable options and sent owners scrambling to the waiver wire.

One talent who many wound up picking up is Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, who returned from injury in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings.

Unfortunately, Pitta hasn’t been as big of a factor as many predicted he would become. The fourth-year man out of BYU has just eight receptions for 72 yards and a score this season, with all but two catches and 24 yards coming in his 2013 debut against Minny.

His failure against the Detroit Lions last Sunday cost many owners a chance at the championship, but some still managed to make it despite his mediocre showing. If you were fortunate enough to advance, it is worth giving Pitta another shot.

The New England Patriots love to take away the opposition’s best weapon and dare the other players to beat them. Pitta is a talented part of the offense, but he’s not the best.

Expect the Pats to attempt to lock down Torrey Smith in the passing game and give Pitta room to work in the middle and against soft single coverage.

PPR owners will greatly benefit from a barrage of targets heading Pitta’s way, and the volume should translate into yards and scores for owners in all leagues.

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